Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 9, 2019

Agent Building Her List – Kortney Price at Corvisiero Literary Agency

Kortney Price is an associate literary agent specializing in books for children. This includes picture book, early readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult.

She is based in Saint Louis, Missouri where she spends her days reading, exploring and chasing after her two incredibly high maintenance dogs.  Kortney was (and still is) that person in the bookstore who recommends books to strangers based on what they’re buying. When she realized that she could make a career out of helping authors and getting excited over books, she decided to pursue a career in agenting. So, after graduating with a B.A. in English from Greenville University in 2014, she started out with her first agency internship. Since then she has interned with Andrea Hurst & Associates, Amphorae Publishing Group, and Inklings Literary Agency. She was an associate agent at Holloway Literary before finding her home with Corvisiero.

Outside of her world of books and publishing, Kortney can typically be found attending musicals, meandering through art museums, watching an absurd amount of movies, pretending she understands and can teach sports at her aunt’s special needs nonprofit, exploring the city, catering to her diva dog’s every whim, and trying to rein in her overly energetic corgi mix.

IN MIDDLE GRADE SUNBMISSIONS, I tend toward clever humor and characters who are, at their very core, trouble makers. Stories of adventure, survival and mysteries are pretty much my jam, but I also have a soft spot for MG that tackles heavy topics that these kids might be facing such as grief, bullying, racism, poverty, etc. Huge bonus points go to stories that feature characters with special needs. Whether it be a character who is dealing with losing a limb, a hard of hearing or blind character, or a child with Down syndrome or Autism, I’m looking for characters who represent the broad range of kiddos in the special needs community.

When I was in middle school, I was absolutely obsessed with Gordon Korman’s books. Specifically the On the Run, Everest, Island, and Kidnapped series. These survival stories are still some of my favorites of all time. I’m looking for quite literally anything in this genre. Shipwrecks, deserted islands, mountains, forests, jungles, deep sea diving, lost in the big city, kayaking, camping trips gone wrong, treasure hunts…

Middle school me was also obsessed with The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and so literary agent me is absolutely dying to find a clever MG mystery. Another comp would be that ever-so-wonderful movie Clue.

Separate from the relatively contained settings of the mysteries I’ve described so far, I also love the far reaching, globetrotting mystery adventures such as the 39 Clues series. Give me spies and spy school, international intrigue, and something comparable to National Treasure or The Amazing Race.

Science Fiction  & Steampunk
Shenanigans on the space station or a space colony please! Here’s where my love of the trouble making kiddos really comes into play. Does your main character go joy riding in a space ship? Use anti-gravity for pranking purposes? Or work as a cabin boy and want to captain his own ship but his attempts to prove himself end up creating a mess only he can fix? If you said yes to any of those or have something comparable (or if you can, in any way, compare your story to Treasure Planet), I want to read your story.

If you’ve written a steampunk, my love of the genre comes from the absolutely wonderful worlds created by these authors so if you’ve created a rich and complex world, I’d love to see it!

In fantasy for MG I lean more toward the contemporary fantasy realm. Stories that take place in our world but contain some wonderful piece of fantasy. For example, one of my favorite movies of all time is Jumanji. Some of the elements I like to see include ghosts & haunted houses, unique takes on known monsters, and elements from all of those beautiful cultures that aren’t always represented, especially (but not limited to) Native American culture.

Of course if you have a super unique epic fantasy world that is absolutely packed with adventure, I totally want to check that out. Think Suzanne Collins’ Gregor the Overlander.

I’m pretty well up for anything when it comes to this genre. I love to see healthy family dynamics in these stories as well as characters who are finding their family over the course of the story (Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff). Those heavier topic and special needs representation are still absolutely at the top of my list of manuscripts to consider, as well as representation of other cultures through OwnVoices.

I absolutely LOVE history and so anything in this genre is pretty much fair game. These stories can be a bit more focused on character growth or action packed adventures, I am seriously looking for everything. I’d love to see a time travel adventure, a super atmospheric circus (maybe with fantasy elements?), sword fights, pirate battles on the high seas, stories about royalty, and a solid footing in the time period the story is written in. The only thing I’m not looking for is stories set during WWII, unless you have an incredibly unique twist.

​Graphic Novels
This is a relatively new format that I’m branching out to, but I would love to see any and all graphic novels for middle graders that I can get my hands on. A recent favorite is Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. Books for boys, or girls. Stories about friendship or action. Literally anything and everything for middle graders.

IN YOUNG ADULT SUBMISSIONS, my tastes are a bit grittier and darker. Thriller, suspense, contemporary with a gritty theme/edge, and mystery are all at the top of my list right now. I’m also dying for an atmospheric historical, magical realism, fantasy, or paranormal (limited almost expressly to ghost stories). If I can “see” the world of the story and that world reflects the tone of the story, I’m going to be totally hooked. On the flip side, I’m also looking for light hearted “geeky” or “artsy” romance. And of course, special needs rep in YA is definitely a plus.

Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
As per usual on my list, I’m looking for survival stories, adventure, and maybe a spy or heist story. I have a weird love for stories that take place in boarding schools and have a weakness for unexpectedly strong characters such as Jessie from Ransom by Lois Duncan.

Outside of what I’ve listed above, my tastes in YA books are a bit darker. I am DYING to see a super gritty YA contemporary. Psychological thrillers, mystery, suspense, literally anything. Maybe your story is about a character who survived a trauma and the bad guy is back? The court case goes viral? Send it to me! Maybe your character is stuck in an awful situation and has to use their wits and strength to survive or escape? Send it to me! …What can I say? That sudden onset of I-need-more-dark-stories-in-my-box-itis is flaring up again.


​I’d love to see a light and fluffy story that’s “geeky” or “artsy.” I love the super sweet stories here and would be so incredibly excited to see disability/special needs rep in these stories. A bit like Switched at Birth. I’m not interested in the Sarah Dessen or John Green comps here.

​Magical Realism & Paranormal 
Continuing on the “dark” theme, Magical realism and paranormal (pretty much limited to ghost stories) that are absolutely dripping with atmosphere and have a setting that gives you goosebumps are also at the top of my list. I believe in a former #mswl tweet I called it a creepy, fog-in-a-haunted-graveyard feel. I would love to see anything in this realm. If you’re not sure, send it! I’d rather see too many submissions in these genres than not enough.

Another big one for atmosphere is historical. I absolutely loved The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd with its dark themes and vivid setting. I’d kill for a historical paranormal mystery where the characters stumble onto something more gruesome and terrifying than they ever expected. No vampires or werewolves please.

If you’re a YA fantasy writer, you’ve come to the right place! Most of the agents at my agency enjoy this genre and we all have just slightly different tastes in these stories.

For me, I’ve always had a soft spot for retellings of unique or little-known myths and legends. Or super clever retellings of known myths/fairytales. (Disclaimer: I am super done with Peter Pan retellings) One of the retellings that I absolutely adored and have read more than once is Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

I really enjoy epic fantasies with a unique world and magic system. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite fantasies of all time. I also enjoy contemporary fantasies, but am not a huge fan of demons versus angels or anything taking place in the afterlife.

​Science Fiction: 
In science fiction I especially like near future, but I also will read the occasional space opera. I grew up watching Doctor Who, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis with my Dad so anything comparable those are always welcome.

I’d also love to see the next Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (anything comparable to Treasure Planet will do), and I loved The Finishing School series by Gail Calliger.

#Ownvoices and diverse books are welcome in my inbox

Submission Guidelines

Corvisiero Literary Agency utilizes Query Manager for all submissions. To query me, please be sure to follow this link and fill out all mandatory blanks (I require a query, synopsis, and first five pages). Submit here: 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Great interview! Thanks!


  2. Hello there. I would very much like to submit a picture book. The illustrations are based on medieval and middle age art. I may very well be missing it, but I don’t see instructions on submitting this type of work. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


    • Submission Guidelines
      Corvisiero Literary Agency utilizes Query Manager for all submissions. To query me, please be sure to follow this link and fill out all mandatory blanks (I require a query, synopsis, and first five pages). Submit here:


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